The 50th Anniversary line that came about in 2014 was what felt like kind of a last ditch olive branch to the fandom to celebrate our brand’s 50th anniversary, even if our 12” other brothers weren’t the focus as perhaps they should have been (at least partly). It was obviously greatly inspired by vintage designs, using a lot of existing tooling and characters that appeared just as they did back in the 80s.
For this second iteration of the 50th Anniversary line, we certainly get some of that as well, but part of it also feels a bit more new. The introduction of the Wolf Squad and some different vehicle elements separates this line at least a little bit and makes it seem to exist better as a continuation rather than just a revisiting. Spirit Iron-Knife is a good example of that.
Rather than just a re-release of a classic deco type figure, or the Pursuit of Cobra version released to Toys “R” Us, Hasbro goes in a slightly different direction, giving us a version of Spirit in a unique desert camouflage color pallet. His parts are all existing, from the aforementioned Pursuit of Cobra version for his head sculpt, with what looks to be Retaliation Flint for the torso and arms, with Resolute Snake Eyes legs. It’s a unique combination of parts that work pretty well giving us a figure that remains really well articulated throughout. The elbows and wrists are terrific, allowing him great flexibility to hold his various weapons, including the dart gun that’s normally a real pain. The handle and trigger guard combination on the dart gun still makes it a bit of a challenge for Spirit to grasp, but it can be made to work, which is more than can be said for previous versions of the character.
As mentioned, the camouflage and paint colors seem to focus on desert camouflage, with a basic tan shirt and sleeves, and a camouflage pattern on the legs. The leg design isn’t especially intricate or detailed, but works well enough, and maintains a style that G.I. Joe has used since the beginning. Darker brown boots and kneepads offset the lighter colors well, and Spirit’s skin is a nice variable shade of color as well.
There are a number of neat accessories for Spirit Iron-Knife here, mostly refreshed from his 25th Anniversary version. He’s got the same great backpack and dart gun combination with removable cartridges that plug into the weapon. I had almost forgotten how great those accessories were when they came with that version of Spirit so many years ago. I really don’t like that figure much, so I tend to block out the entire release, but the accessories are really very nice, and work well in this new version as well. As I said, the thick handle and tight trigger guard make it a bit tough for him to hold, but not impossible.
He comes with the same tactical vest that the Pursuit of Cobra version did (carried forward from the Rise of Cobra Pit Commando I believe) and that works quite nicely, too. He also has a knife and machete, though unfortunately no place to store either one. I also can’t help but wonder why a desert version of the figure needs a machete in the first place. A secondary weapon would have been nice, I’d think a dart gun could only carry you so far.
I’m surprised at how much I like this version of G.I. Joe’s first tracker. It’s a very straight forward combination of parts and deco, but it’s an effective combination and the end result is pretty fun. Good accessories and an aesthetically pleasing paint job. Pretty nice job on this one.
50th Anniversary Spirit Iron-Knife
A fixture on the G.I. Joe team since 1984, this version of Spirit relies on some familiar themes, but also goes in some different, appreciated directions.
1 – Good use of modern parts, resulting in great articulation and sculpting
2 – Color scheme on the skin shows some ethnic variety
3 – Love the 25th Anniversary dart gun and backpack
1 – Some paint slop in certain places
2 – The collar looks odd when he’s not wearing the vest
3 – Would have liked additional more modern and functional weaponry